Suzi's Blog

Ruby: Grapefruit, Aperol, St. Germain and, of course, Vodka

onOne Focus Version of Cocktail

Neglect. It’s an awful thing. And to be big and luscious and still be neglected makes aboslutly no sense.

Uh, no, I did not misspell abosolutly up above and here. It’s a pun. This is a vodka drink.

Grapefruit, actually ruby red grapefruit, is the item of the day. We use a bushel of lemons and limes and some oranges for our cocktails. But grapefruits? Far less often.

I think I mentioned here once that George Washington had a line item in his budget for ships to bring up Caribbean citrus so his Continental Army officers could make those rum concoctions that won us our liberty.

Here the spirit is vodka, not rum. In fact, vodka, not rum or whiskey is the number one selling spirit in the United. How do I know? Why is this true? I just read Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Garmin, a wonderful one-theme book from a mixologist with over 30 years of inventiveness. I’ll write more about Vodka Distilled next time.

For now. Mix this. Drink this. Savor this.


Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 1 ½ ounces vodka [preferably potato based; why? Well, read Vodka Distilled!]
  • ½ ounce Aperol
  • ¾ ounce St-Germain Elderflower liqueur
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeeze Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice [fresh, not bottled, I must insist]
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice [again, fresh]
  • 1 tablespoon of egg white [which I make optional]


In a mixing glass add vodka, Aperol, St-Germain, fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, and egg whites. Shake with ice until well mixed and the egg white are emulsified. Strain into a chilled champagne saucer or, in my case, a martini glass. Garnish with the oils from a grapefruit slice.

Source: Vodka Distilled by Tony Abou-Garmin


Aperol St. Germain Sour: A Cocktail Gateway to Flavor

Two very popular liqueurs are Aperol and St. Germain. Popular and so different. St. Germain, made from the flowers of elderberry bushes, is sweet. I always detect grapefruit, but others get peach, pear, flowers of all kinds, and some even report lychee.

Aperol is different, offering sour flavors including rhubarb and orange. Aperol was created in 1919 and has always been compared to Compari. For many of us, Compari is, well, abrupt. So, lately mixologists [that’s bartenders to us normal folks on the other side of the bar] have been using Aperol in such Compari classics as the Negroni.

Now, what happens if you take those two very different flavor combinations and mix them? It’s true cocktail synergy. Several people to have invented this same mixture which goes by several names. The basic mix is often called an Aperol Sour or an Aperol St. Germain Sour. I prefer equal billing.

In the now classic combo below, it’s just those two liqueurs with some lime juice. I am experimenting, however. The dominant Aperol sourness still begs, at least to me, for a tad of relief. So some simple sugar syrup is one idea. Lemon juice instead of lime. You can top this drink off with seltzer water or club soda to “tone” it down. Or, you can increase both sweetness and sparkle by adding some sparkling wine. Do not go dry here. Do go sweet with Proseco or Cava [yes, Cava comes in six classifications including both ranging from brut to sweet].

Start with this basic recipe, then experiment to your delight. It’s a good introductory cocktail to kick off a meal, but the liqueurs have the substance to carry you through, say, a juicy steak and some cheesy potatoes.


Aperol St. Germain Sour

Yield: Serves 1


  • 1.5 ounces Aperol
  • .75 ounces St. Germain
  • .75 ounces fresh squeeze lime juice


Shake all the ingredients with ice. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Crushed ice is optional. Garnish would be a stick of your favorite herb.


Source: and